As had happened in previous summers, in the province of Santa Fe Palometa attacks on bathers were once again recorded on the shores of the Paraná River. On this occasion, more than 30 people were injured and had to be treated for cuts to their hands and feet. The most serious case was that of a 13-year-old adolescent who had to have a finger amputated: she underwent a graft in the fifth metatarsal at the Doctor Orlando Alassia Children’s Hospital.
The affected bathers were bitten yesterday by these fish in the spas of the Setúbal lagoon, on the east coast of the capital of Santa Fe. Taking advantage of the National Sovereignty Day holiday and in the middle of a day of oppressive heat, many decided to go to the city’s beaches and some were encouraged to take a dip without imagining the presence of these fish, which is favored by the sweltering temperatures and warm water, in addition to the downspouts.
The palometas are similar to the piranhas, they move in shoals and prefer low-water areas to feed. It is a large and very voracious fish that has very sharp teeth with great cutting power.
Although there are many species, those that appear in Santa Fe are usually the pilopleura, known as piranha, wild palometa or shiny palometa; and the nattereri, called blackberry palometas or pacusa palometas.
The low level of the waters, added to the high temperatures that are usually registered at this time, make up a favorable scenario for the appearance of these carnivorous fish on the coast of Paraná. For this reason, it is common that every summer bites are reported in bathers and, on certain occasions, there are attacks by shoals of palmettos that end up with many injured people.
But in addition, the conditions described can not only cause the presence of palmettes but also also that of stripes and the possible appearance of snakes. “For all this, the population is asked not to enter the water, especially considering that this downspout period will continue in the coming months”, They asked from the Municipality of Santa Fe.
Through a statement, the local authorities recalled that, “as a result of the exceptional downspout of the river, the spas of Laguna Setúbal can only be used as solariums; while the only places enabled for recreational bathing are the pools of the South and Garay parks”.
Regarding the impossibility of using the spas for recreational bathing, the director of Risk Management of the Municipality, Cintia Gauna, suggested “Do not enter the water due to the danger posed by the lagoon itself, which has very marked depths and unstable soil, especially in the area closest to the coast.”
The same recommendation was made by the representative of the Lifeguard Union in the provincial capital, Sergio berardi. “The natural habitat of the palometa is the lagoon and the lack of flow and the alteration by high temperatures causes the school to turn over to the coast,” he warned in statements to Santa Fe Air.
Berardi pointed out that the lifeguards arranged along the Santa Fe coastline have supplies to give first aid against butterfly bites and that, in two cases in a row, the indication to remove all people from the water. This, however, becomes complex when the turnout is massive. That is why he asked for collaboration to avoid these accidents, “especially to families with minors.”